As we wind towards the end of what has been a bit of a gray, rainy weekend of red, white and blue celebration, a question came to mind. The offseason has been full of twists and turns, and we’ll see several new faces on the floor this year for the Wildcats along with the guys we know well. We’ve heard about John Wall and the hype he brings along with him. We know Patrick Patterson, the consummate…well…everything. But are we missing something? Are we, the most diehard, tuned-in fans of anything anywhere, overlooking someone? That’s the question for you fine folks to debate this Cinco de Julio.
Some of the candidates:
Daniel Orton – Whether because he was signed by Clyde, was injured his senior year, or simply because more ballyhooed recruits have lined up since Orton came on board, he seems to have been a bit overlooked. Despite being one of the top centers in his class in his own right, most people have all but put DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup alongside Patterson over the big man from Oklahoma. But are we letting recruiting rankings get in the way of objective judgment? Or should I just shut up and be happy that we have two of the best big guys in the class fighting for a spot next to arguably the best big man in America?
Demarcus Cousins – Speaking of Cousins, he also seems to be a bit of a mystery. Supremely talented and a certified beast, he has (probably wrongly) already been drawing comparisons to Randolph Morris in terms of his attitude, work ethic, and facial expressions. I personally think we’ve all jumped the gun a little bit on Cousins, and believe that the same attitude that may rub people the wrong way now will have people cheering his name when he puts Wayne Chism on his hind parts just for looking at John Wall the wrong way. So, are we letting his perceived attitude problems infiltrate our judgment of him as a player?
Eric Bledsoe – Just a side note here. We signed the two best point guards in the class of ’09. That feels as good to type as it does to read. Now, onto the discussion. Bledsoe is a stud. People that have seen him play wonder how Wall could possibly be that much better than him. Well…maybe he’s not. Maybe the (well deserved) John Wall hype train has clouded our view of a player we’d be lining the streets to welcome if BCG was still around. We know Wall will be the focus of media attention and NBA scouts, but have we completely missed the boat on a guy who, if not for Wall, would be the highest rated point guard we’ve signed since Rajon Rondo?
Patrick Patterson – Yeah, I mentioned him in the opening as a known quantity. We know he’s a great teammate. We know he’s a great human being. We know he can grow a hell of an afro. But do we even know how good he can be? He may very well be the best big in the nation, all apologies to Cole Aldrich, but has anyone thought about the numbers he can put up when he’s not the force-fed focus of the offense? Now that there are players to take the pressure off of him and he won’t be seeing triple teams as soon as he touches the ball, is it possible Patterson is better than we’ve seen, and better than we think we know he is?
Darius Miller – The sophomore has the complete game suited for the Dribble-Drive, but his soft-spoken nature leads some to overlook him even though Coach Calipari believes he can be a star. A summer playing international ball and the departure of a coach that made life miserable for the team and Miller in particular could be just what the doctor ordered for the Maysville product to explode onto the scene. Along with Ninja Orton, Miller is my choice in this debate, and I expect big things from the Kentucky boy in the upcoming season.
These are just a few of the possibilities. There are others, like Perry Stevenson, who could thrive in the Coach Calipari’s system as a weakside post man where back-to-the-basket skills are not necessarily necessary, although he’ll have to master not travelling if he’s to master the dribble-drive. Or even Jon Hood, Kentucky’s finest and possibly the sharpshooter who could fill Jodie Meeks’ void. Maybe it’s Wall that will be even more dominant than we expect. So, I leave it all to you, devoted readers of this fine website, to decide. Who, of this year’s Wildcats, are we underestimating? Discuss.